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Marina Avalos

Streamline YouTube SEO Optimization With These Tools

By | Networking Bizz Advanced SEO Techniques | No Comments

With video streaming services and social media platforms reporting large amounts of traffic, videos are slowly but surely moving front and center as the most popular form of online content. Plus, they are made more accessible by the widespread use of mobile devices and the growing average speed of Internet connectivity.

Look no further than sites like Twitch and YouTube to understand how powerful videos can be at keeping people glued to their screens. As a matter of fact, according to YouTube, U.S. residents aged 18-34 watch more videos on mobile devices than they do on any TV broadcast or cable network.

Bearing this in mind, performing video optimization has never been as important as it is today. To get more eyeballs looking at your videos, you must do your best to ensure that people can find your videos online and that they choose to watch your video over the vast pool of competition.

Getting yourself noticed on YouTube can be quite a daunting challenge, but in this post, we’ve rounded up some of the best tools that can help you optimize your YouTube videos for SEO.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

One of the most crucial parts of producing videos is getting everything ready even before the camera starts rolling. The bulk of the work is actually done during the video pre-production or planning stage. After all, you can’t create a great video without laying out a plan first, right?

Conducting keyword research

Knowing what topics are popular and what colloquial terms are used most to find videos is imperative to the success of your digital video marketing strategy. By creating videos around a specific target keyword, you’ll have a much better chance of getting ranked higher on the YouTube SERP.

YouTube autocomplete

You’ve probably noticed that YouTube suggests certain keywords and phrases as you type a query into the search box:

What makes the Autocomplete feature so great is that it’s free and only puts popular keywords forward. Basically, YouTube points out for you the terms people use most to find videos. From the standpoint of YouTube SEO, your videos should be optimized around these suggested keywords.

Above you can see that YouTube suggests several other keywords along with the initial query. Each suggestion can be a great idea for a video topic, but they are awesome long-tail keywords as well. Besides being popular, long-tail keywords are also not very competitive, and, hence, are easier to get ranked for.

Analyzing yours and your competitors’ channels

You have enough on your plate managing your channel as it is, but the only way to know which direction to go or what you need to do to get better results is to scrutinize all of your channel’s existing data and compare it to that of your main rivals.

Of course, there are also a number of tools that can help you dissect your channel and get to know everything about the channels you’re going up against.

YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics is the best place to learn what’s working on your channel and what’s not. This free, easy-to-use but comprehensive tool can tell you who watches your videos and what they like to watch, plus it can help you figure out which videos can produce more income.

This solution enables you to perform a detailed analysis of your channel and each separate video, providing you with real-time reports, view count, ratio of likes and dislikes, as well as viewer demographics.

YouTube Analytics offers three key report categories to work with: Revenue, Watch time, and Engagement — make sure to explore all of them for maximum results. On top of that, these categories are complemented by real-time and Overview sections. To take advantage of the tool, you must start uploading videos so that the system has some data to work with to boost your performance.

Snagging competitor tags

To dig a bit deeper into your competition, take a look at the tags they use to get their videos noticed by YouTube. Not only do tags help you get ranked for the target keyword, but they can also help you show up as a related video in YouTube’s sidebar when someone watches a video with a similar tag.

Although tags are initially hidden on YouTube, they can be viewed through the page’s HTML code. To do this, right-click on the page and go to “View Page Source.” Then search for the word “keywords” on the page. Everything that goes after it is the video’s tags! But if HTML is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of tools that will help you out.

TagsForYouTube

YouTube decided to hide video tags from the public eye many years ago. With the free Tags for YouTube Chrome extension, YouTube tags are returned to their original position.

To view what tags are attached to a video, simply click “show more” right under the description of the video. No sidebars, overlays or layers of data — bare tags only. It’s not a powerful tool regarding analytics, but it does save you the hassle of looking up tags via HTML.

If you want to have a simple way of seeing just the tags of YouTube videos without any additional analytical information, this tool is exactly what you need.

TagsYouTube

Unlike the previous tool that simply allows you to spy on your competitors’ tags, this free solution can generate tag based on the target keyword.

The free version of the TagsYouTube tool enables you to get a list of tags related to your target keyword, select the ones you like, and add them to the final list of tags. You can then add another keyword and add those tags to your final list of tags as well. Continue adding keywords until you get a list of tags you are happy with.

Besides generating tags, this service also offers features such as Advanced Title, Description, Thumbnail Generator, as well as practical tips and advice on how to best optimize your videos for YouTube.

RapidTags

Just as the name suggests, this free tool can quickly generate tags. One of the great things about RapidTags is that you can apply a language filter as you perform a search to get tags for different localities.

The workflow is pretty straightforward: enter your target query into the search box and the tool will generate relevant tags which you can then copy to YouTube.

You can then further analyze the target query to find out its traffic details like how many views, likes, dislikes and comments it currently has. RapidTags also shows the estimated number of views and engagement signals — such as likes — required for your video to rank for the target query.

Now that you’ve done all the preparatory work around your video and have recorded it, you need to add some finishing touches before it’s ready to go public.

Creating a thumbnail

Book covers and film posters give us an idea of what we can expect from a book or a movie, respectively. Video thumbnails serve the same purpose: they give people a rough understanding of what they’ll see in a video if they watch it. Therefore, before uploading your video to YouTube, create a high-quality custom thumbnail using a professional tool.

Canva

Canva is a leading graphic design tool that is perfect for creating beautiful thumbnails for YouTube videos. It’s easy to use, even if you’re not a designer.

It should be noted that this tool is not exclusively used for creating thumbnails — Canva can also be engaged in a number of other design-related tasks such booklets, presentations, sales pitches and so forth. It offers over a million fonts, graphics, photos and templates for you to choose from, as well as the option to upload images from your collections.

In terms of making thumbnails, Canva is packed with a plethora of free stock photos, backgrounds, texts, shapes, illustrations, and much more, making it a great solution. Moreover, you can use this tool free of charge on computers, Android and iOS devices, with the exception of several paid features and elements.

FotoJet

Another powerful free web graphic designer, photo editor, and collage maker tool is FotoJet. With this solution, creating amazing YouTube thumbnails is a walk in the park.

What makes this graphic design tool stand out is the fact that it puts more focus on creating amazing thumbnails for YouTube — not just general design features. With more than 500 templates for collages, FotoJet is a great resource for producing various graphics for YouTube, including video thumbnails.

The best part of this tool is the advanced thumbnail creator tool. It lets you make all sorts of fine adjustments to your creations — rotate images, add filters, crop or resize them. Also, similar to Canva, FotoJet’s drag-and-drop interface provides for an intuitive and hassle-free user experience.

Optimizing the video

Before you decide to upload your video to YouTube, you may want to polish it off and add finishing touches by running it through an editing tool. Luckily, there’s a variety of video optimization tools that can show you new ways of improving your videos, and fast-track the process.

iMovie

If you’re a greenhorn when it comes to editing YouTube videos and want to use only native apps on your Mac — give iMovie a try.

With this intuitive video editing software, you are free to trim, crop and rearrange sections of your video whichever way you like. Plus, the tool allows you to fix shaky videos, insert titles, throw in great visual effects and manage the video’s audio files.

One of the cool things about iMovie is that it supports 4K and HD videos, which is great news for those of us who record videos on GoPro cameras, iPhones, and other modern quality cameras. Moreover, the tool lets you easily upload and publish such high-definition videos to Facebook, Vimeo and, of course, YouTube.

So, if you’re still learning the ropes of video editors, this tool is perfect for getting started.

Blender

A free video editing tool that is more advanced than the previous option is Blender. Not only does it offer features that allow you to use the tool for 3D, VFX, rendering, animation, modeling, and even creating video games, it also enables you to trim videos, apply all sorts of filters and transitions — just what YouTubers need.

With Blender, you can add as many image, audio and video files to a video’s timeline as you want and edit them as you see fit on Mac, Windows or Linux devices. Blender also visualizes waveforms and allows users to mix audio files, which makes for a creative experience. Also, you can take advantage of the tool’s histogram displays, live preview, vectorscope features, and so much more.

It should be noted that due to this tool’s complexity, it may take you some time to figure out all of its ins and outs to yield the best results.

With almost two weeks’ worth of video content being added to YouTube every single minute, finding hundreds of videos on any given topic is a piece of cake. However, if not promoted the right way, your video just won’t be found. By making use of specialized tools, you can ensure that you get the kind of stats that are only obtained by top players in the YouTube game. If you’re doing video SEO, regular video ranking check-ups via position tracking tools are a prerequisite for the success of your YouTube channel. Such check-ups can tell you who you’re competing with and enable you to adjust your video marketing campaign accordingly.

SE Ranking

SE Ranking has a top-notch keyword tracking tool that can be used to get accurate data, detailed reports, and analysis. Along with the keyword tracking tool the platform offers a bunch of other useful features that help you perform more tasks.

The keyword rank checker tool specifically can run daily checks on Google, Yahoo and YouTube rankings for any location and device. It conveniently shows the daily ranking changes expressed in figures as well as graphs and specifies the URL for each ranking position. Also, you can set a target URL for each query, and all non-target URL positions will be highlighted in red.

The tech behind the tool collects data by simulating how users with no browsing history would behave for the selected target location and provides a cached copy if you want to verify the data for yourself.

Besides tracking rankings on five search engines and locations, you are free to track up to 5 competitors from your industry and get accurate, competitive intelligence on them. Moreover, the tool enables you to track the TOP 100 results for any search query — check how positions have changed over a specific period for any keyword or search engine from your project.

YTRank

YTRank is a very simple free tool that was designed with one goal in mind: to track the YouTube video ranking position for a specific keyword.

Once you access their website, all you have to do is select the country where you get most of your traffic from, enter the URL of your YouTube video and add up to 6 keywords you want to check positions for.

Then just scroll down to see which page and on what position your keyword is currently located on. It’s as simple as that.

Getting more eyes looking at your videos is incredibly important to the success of your video marketing campaigns, and social media platforms are perfect resources to execute on that. Here are some of the tools that can help you spread the word about your video far and wide.

DrumUp

The process of promoting YouTube videos involves making them easy to find for viewers. DrumUp is a paid tool that enables you to schedule the promotion of your videos on various social networks.

With DrumUp, you can add your social media accounts from Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook, and communicate with your target social audiences from one easy-to-access platform.

Once you authenticate your social profiles, you will be able to see a preview of your social posts before making them public online. Customize your messages that promote your videos with a simple, intuitive social auto-posting solution.

HootSuite

Another social media management service that enables companies to perform social marketing activities is HootSuite. This paid tool aims to take communication to the next level and empowers companies to foster relationships with clients — not just send generic messages.

The tool’s dashboard provides tabs for each social account that’s connected to the app. Modern social media goes beyond posting messages and includes providing support, offering exclusive deals, and encouraging customers to make repeat purchases.

Hootsuite makes managing several profiles at the same time effortless. The advanced options are not free but with some extra investment, you get advanced social analytics, security, audience engagement and multiple users.

eClincher

eClincher is another fully-featured paid social media management tool that makes it easy to oversee and manage your social presence. This solution’s toolset includes an intelligent social dashboard, content curation, keyword tracking, analytics, publishing and automation, a unified social inbox, and a bunch of other useful options.

Manage, set up, schedule and publish content (including YouTube videos) on all your social profiles from a single location with eClincher. If a certain piece of content is performing well, eClincher will let you know and you’ll be able to use it again for more effective engagement on the social channels that haven’t seen that piece of content yet.

This social tool can lend you a hand in finding hot relevant content from the web and instantly adding it to your feed. Since the tool can determine what content will be appreciated by your audience, this feature can boost the performance of your social media profiles.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re getting more social media comments and questions than you can physically handle? Social comments are the modern-day version of business reviews and are vitally important to your brand. Good thing many tools can help you stay on top of all your social engagements.

YouTube comment moderation

YouTube has its own content moderation tool that gives you the possibility to customize the settings that will automatically filter out inappropriate comments, leaving only engaging comments in place.

To configure the settings that define what comments can appear, you need to go to the Creator Studio and access the Community settings.

There, you can add users to enable their comments to be approved automatically. You can also view the comments left by users marked as ‘hidden’. Moreover, by entering a list of words you want to block, comments that match or closely match the specified words will be put aside for human review. Additionally, mark the checkbox next to the Block links option to hold back new comments and live chat messages with hashtags and URLs. Last but not least, configure the basic settings regarding comments on your videos, channel and live chat before hitting ‘Save’.

As for the comments themselves, go to Comments section to view the comments that are public, those that have been held for review, and those that are considered to be spam by YouTube. This is where you can decide which comments deserve to be visible on your comments feed, but it will, unfortunately, require doing a lot of manual work. There are, however, some solutions that ease up the load.

TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is a free browser extension that equips you with multiple tools that help you manage your YouTube channel. No need to switch between your channel and external tools to see the data — all the tools are added on top of YouTube’s interface.

Being a popular solution, TubeBuddy is full of useful tools and has quite a few ways of helping you moderate your comments.

First off, when working directly within the YouTube comments page, TubeBuddy gives you the option to filter comments: those you haven’t replied to, those that need a follow-up reply, those with positive or negative sentiments, or questions. That way you can easily find out where you need to interact more and learn what your viewers are talking about.

Canned responses is another helpful tool that allows creating quick go-to answers to popular viewer comments. Once you’ve prepared your short replies, you can select one right next to a user comment under the video, saving loads of time on creating messages anew.

The last comment-related TubeBuddy tool that deserves mention is the word cloud. The cloud contains the most used words from your comments, those that stand out for your channel and give you a quick insight into the general tone of voice of your channel.

Smart Moderation

A paid tool that provides comment moderation for social media platforms is SmartModeration. It’s designed to remove profane comments and protect your reputation on the web on autopilot in real time.

Most automated comment moderation tools solely rely on lists of keywords to understand what’s written in comments. In turn, YouTube has its own tools that look to keyword blacklists and algorithms to filter out spammy comments. However, this tool only puts them aside for human review without deleting them.

This is where Smart Moderation comes in. This tool connects to your social profiles on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and deletes unwanted comments the moment they are posted. On top of that, the tool’s machine learning AI removes such comments very accurately — like a human would. This feature makes this solution stand out because it understands words like humans. Plus its intelligence engine can be trained as you continue using the service.

Finally, the software supports multiple languages and can, therefore, be used by content producers from all over the planet to protect their audience and content.

There is little doubt that video content is a must-have component of any marketing strategy. Good thing we have YouTube that gives everyone the amazing opportunity to attract new audiences, encourage engagement and growth, as well as boost overall customer conversions.

By making the most of the tools listed in this article, you can get miles ahead of your competitors and get higher rankings on YouTube’s SERP.

The Biggest SEO Trends Of 2019

By | Networking Bizz Advanced SEO Techniques, Networking Bizz Business advice | No Comments

SEO strategy with components for successful marketing as icons on cubes on wooden backgroundGETTY

How will the world of search engine optimization change in 2019? What new trends will emerge, what old trends will die, and which trends will continue in the next year?

SEO is in constant motion, always changing to the point where it’s difficult to keep up with everything.

In this blog post, we’re going to go over some of the biggest SEO trends to be tracking in 2019.

Voice Search Begins Its Rule

Voice search is clearly growing in popularity – and at a very rapid rate, too. In fact, I feel like in a couple of years, we’re all going to hear “Ok, Google” all around us every few minutes. By 2020, the experts believe that 50% of all searches will be voice searches.

The number of people who use voice assistants is actually growing year by year, at a very rapid rate; for example, 35.6 million Americans use a voice activated device at least once a month, and one in six Americans now own smart speakers.

While it’s true that the world of search engines and SEO is constantly changing and evolving, the increase in voice search usage is one of the biggest changes yet. That’s because it’s something completely different and it requires a completely different optimization strategy

Think of it this way: there’s one way you’d search for something on Google (the regular website) and one way to ask about something.  “You got to realize, the questions they’re going to ask are going to be a bit different,” explains Stone Temple’s Eric Enge in an episode of the Sure Oak podcast, “and it’s going to create a need for our content that we’re returning – be it either via web page or a return voice interaction – to be prepared to answer those more natural language queries.”

It’s also important to note that Google prefers short answers to voice search queries: the typical result is about 29 words on average.

Even more interestingly, there looks to be a very big connection between voice search optimization and Google’s featured snippets – those short answers you sometimes get above all other results, that have position zero in SERPs.

Mobile-first Indexing As A Work In Progress

Back in March 2018, Google finally started rolling out the so-called mobile-first indexing. A change that many might say has been a long time coming: after all, mobile devices now account for nearly 60% of all traffic and that number is only going to grow.

But what exactly does mobile-first indexing mean for SEOs and web designers? And when can the “voice search index” be expected?

The mobile-first index is less than a year old, so it’s difficult to say where exactly it’s going to head. But what is clear is how important speed is, as well as how important it is to build a truly responsive website, one that not only is fully functional on mobile devices but also one that moves very quickly.

Building better mobile websites and creating better user experiences for visitors using mobile devices is imperative. Because while it’s not clear exactly what is coming up next for mobile-first indexing, what is clear know, based on the Google’s past, is that it’s all about offering your audience websites that are easy to use and navigate, that offer a good user experience and that move fast.

Blockchain Technology Impacts SEO and SEM

Blockchain might be mostly associated with Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, but blockchain’s influence will be much more far-reaching than that.

And not surprisingly, it’s also going to reach and impact search engine optimization, if not digital marketing in general. But how exactly can it influence SEO in a meaningful way?

Blockchain, in short, aims to create a secure and trustworthy record of transactions.

And it can be used to secure the transactions happening on search engines too – the connections between advertisers and website owners. Google, in this sense, is the middleman between the advertiser and website owner, helping them trust each other so that all of these transactions will run smoothly.

But that is exactly what blockchain does, by definition – only a bit more effectively. Blockchain can verify that every user is who they say they are, with 100% accuracy.

It can see whether an ad was viewed by an actual real person and not a bot. It can help you make sure that website owner only pay for genuine click-throughs to their website. And even more so, all of this will help reduce online ads fraud.

This, of course, will not only impact Google’s ad revenue, but it is also likely to impact SEO in general. Microsoft – and other big companies – are already collaborating with blockchain-based identity systems Blockstack Labs and ConsenSys to help improve apps and services

The Rise of Amazon Search Optimization

It’s difficult to see how Amazon Search can ever compete with Google – after all, it’s hard to see oneself searching for “how to remove carpet stains” on Amazon – but it’s actually a huge competitor. Many SEO specialists are expecting a huge growth in Amazon Search Optimization in the coming year.

Not convinced? Well, to start with, 72% of shoppers now use Amazon to find products, based on a study from Kenshoo across consumers in the US, Germany, UK, and France.

What’s even more interesting is that they also found that 56% of consumers actually search on Amazon first before they go looking at other sites. Plus, they don’t just find products – they find everything they need that they would otherwise need Google for: product reviews, similar product suggestions, and all kinds of other products that you might be interested in. In other words, they really don’t need another search engine to find what they need or want to buy, as well as do some proper research before making a purchasing decision.

And that is definitely a pretty big threat to Google and Google Ads. If fewer people are googling for products, that can have a big impact on its advertising and revenue.

And when it comes to actually making purchases, people favour Amazon because if its convenience, prices and ease of shipping, according to the latest data from BigCommerce’s Global Omni-Channel Consumer Shopping Research Report.

Conclusion

There are a lot of changes happening in the digital world right now, including in the world of search engine optimization. It’s an exciting – if also a little scary – time. It might not be clear what the future will bring exactly, but it’s clear that emerging and older technologies are starting to have a huge impact on SEO – if it’s not already happening, then at the very least it’s bound to happen soon.

Should Facebook Still Be A Part Of Your Social Media Marketing in 2019?

By | Networking Bizz Advanced SEO Techniques | No Comments

New Year, new you! Many small businesses are trying to decide on their social media marketing in 2019 in the hopes of increasing sales and foot traffic on their websites. Marketing for most small businesses is often not a priority, but it should be. How else will people learn about your product or services? Word of mouth? Well, that might have worked 15 or 20 years ago, but does not work now. Today’s audience does not “talk” to each other; they text, chat and wave to each other online.

Small businesses can compete in the social media realm so long as they have a strategy.

Despite the ongoing investigation delving into Zuckerburg’s situation, for the first time in social media history, Facebook is in the number three spot for social networksjust behind YouTube and Google. Facebook still has 1.47 billion people logging in daily with more than 70% in the United States. Therefore, Facebook is still a safe and lucrative place to put your marketing dollars.

So, where do you start with your marketing strategy? Our suggestion is Facebook, YouTube, and Direct Mail Marketing, otherwise known as cross-channel marketing.

THE REAL DEAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IN 2019

Facebook

Facebook is still a great place for your brand to get discovered. More people go to Facebook first for research and recommendations than any other social media outlet. Paid ads are a great way to get discovered, if you know your target demographics and use the audience selection features to ensure you are reaching your potential customers. It’s also cost-effective with a great ROI.

YouTube

YouTube recently surpassed Facebook as the number one social network. Creating video content is a critical part of your marketing strategy. Not just video, but mobile-optimized video is crucial for brand awareness. There is nothing more frustrating to our mobile hungry younger generation than a video that doesn’t load or is not clear in the size screen they want to view it on. Slow-loading video is a quick way to lose potential customers.

Marketing is an ever-changing beast. Your market reach is no longer determined by zip codes. Social media is your marketing stage. Consider the numbers — two out of three shoppers online have purchased something from a business in another country. Does this mean we abandon the local SEO? Of course not, it actually means you have to work harder to get found because it’s not just what’s local. It’s more about convenience. Many of these studies have noted that people are willing to pay more if getting the product or using the service makes life easier for them.

So, how to appeal to the local market? Consider direct mail campaigns. This cross-channel marketing method helps you connect with your local customer in a familiar but new way. Here’s to yet another year for your success!

 

Mobile Commerce On The Rise

By | Networking Bizz news | No Comments

Smartphones’ share of US online retail sales, excluding apps, climbed to 31.8% in Q3 2018, according to a report from Criteo.

That marks a 14% year-over-year (YoY) increase in share, while tablets’ share dropped 12% YoY and laptops’ and desktops’ fell 5% YoY. This demonstrates the growing importance of mobile, and specifically smartphones, to both the present and future of US e-commerce.

While mobile commerce (m-commerce) is on the rise in the US, it already accounts for most sales in several other countries. M-commerce made up 40% of sales in the US in Q3 2018, excluding apps, a notable increase from its 35% share a year prior.

However, it holds a 50% or higher share in nine other countries, with Sweden leading the way at 60%, and m-commerce has a larger share in 18 countries than it does in the US. So, although retailers and brands may be bolstering their mobile capabilities to take advantage of m-commerce’s growing importance in the US, it’s even more important that they invest in the area in other countries, or they’ll disappoint consumers using the popular channel.

Leveraging the smartphone’s omnichannel capabilities can allow retailers to maximize its value. Only 7% of consumers shopped online and in-store for a product, but that small contingent accounted for 27% of sales made in Q3. Retailers need to provide omnichannel tools and experiences to capitalize on this opportunity, and smartphones are the perfect device for doing so.

They’re convenient, can be used in-store, and hold a growing influence on all retail sales, in addition to their rising e-commerce importance. Displaying details like where products are located in-store on mobile sites and apps can encourage and simplify omnichannel shopping, while in-store research tools such as Walmart’s AR comparison feature can offer more information to drive conversion among omnichannel shoppers.

In addition to preparing for the future, investing in m-commerce should pay dividends immediately given its tremendous performance over the holidays. Smartphones brought in $33.3 billion in sales from November 1 through December 19, according to Adobe, and tablets racked up $9.8 billion.

These devices accounted for 40% of retail revenue and 58% of traffic — 50% through smartphones and 8% via tablets. This shows how important it is to invest in m-commerce, as retailers and brands with lackluster mobile experiences risk alienating consumers in an extremely popular channel.

2019’s Six Key Social Media Marketing Trends

By | Networking Bizz Business advice, Networking Bizz digital marketing | No Comments

It’s that time of year again – say goodbye to 2018 and hello to 2019, a year with the potential to kickstart your business!  Now is the time to start planning your social media marketing strategy for the upcoming year. These are the key trends to follow for another successful year of social media marketing for your business.

Before you pick up on these trends, we highly recommend reviewing your existing social media marketing strategy to find what works and what can be improved. A closer look at your past campaigns, social posts, best-performing channels, and analytics can help you get ready for 2019.

As the social media landscape is changing at a fast pace, it’s important to keep up with the latest trends every year to ensure that your strategy is still successful.

1. Engagement is more important than ever

Facebook has announced early in 2018 the focus on meaningful interactions as part of their updated algorithm.

This meant that their algorithm started favoring content that sparks a genuine conversation, which inspired many Page Managers to create more engaging content.

As organic reach becomes harder, the only way to survive is to aim for content that is:

  • Interesting
  • Appealing
  • Engaging

Algorithms are becoming smarter so there’s no short route to genuine engagement. It’s not enough anymore to encourage people to like, comment, share on your post. Social platforms are trying to cut down on engagement bait techniques so you may risk losing your existing reach in the longer term with such techniques.

Thus, it’s time to stop ‘cheating’ to win engagement and start thinking of an improved engagement strategy for every channel to continue reaching your followers.

2. Influencer marketing and the rise of micro-influencers

Influencer marketing is becoming an established element of your marketing mix. Influencers can make thousands of dollars through paid sponsorships while brands are constantly seeking for the best influencers for their campaigns.

As influencer marketing grows, big influencers are becoming more expensive for small and medium-sized brands. That’s when micro-influencers came in to make up for the gap between being interested in influencer marketing and having the right budget to try it out.

Micro-influencers may not have the outreach of celebrities, but they may have an even bigger influence on their own followers. Even 40k followers as an audience can be perfect for a brand, provided that they are working with the right influencer for their target audience.

For example, a food brand may see better results by working with a rising food blogger with 30k followers than a well-known chef who may ask for 20x of the budget.

And just as micro-influencers keep winning ground, there is also the trend of nano-influencers, or else influencers who have up to 10k followers. They may not have a big audience to follow them, but they can still have a great influence over them, either by their job, their engaging social presence or their passion about a specific industry/topic.

Nano-influencers don’t require a big budget to work with them but you may need to spend more time on the research to find the perfect one for your brand.

Since they may still be new to the influencer marketing world, they may be seeking a partnership that matches their values and could possibly last in the longer term. They can also be easier to reach since they don’t have to deal with thousands of messages every day.

3. Social media for sales enablement

Social media is already helping customers in the phase of product discovery. Brands are able to promote their products through social channels and customers are finding out about them before making a purchase.

Social media is not anymore just about awareness and engagement, but it’s heading even more towards consideration and sales enablement in the business funnel.

A vast majority of respondents who discovered a product through social media proceeded to a purchase later on. Facebook seems to be the first channel that people discover new products, with Instagram and Pinterest following up.

What do these mean for 2019? Brands have a great opportunity to benefit from this trend to improve their social strategy. You don’t always need a sales pitch in all your messaging to convince people to trust you. Social media can help you tell your story and improve consideration. Right after someone discovers your product online, it’s up to you to provide a smooth experience that will make sales easier.

4. AI and customer service

Bots and automated messaging have already shown up in many brands’ customer service. Social media has made it easier for customers to reach a brand, which means that the expectations about the response time are increasing.

Chatbots have started becoming popular through Facebook’s Messenger when brands realized that it’s an easy way to add an additional customer support to the mix.

Not all customers were convinced that this is the best way to reach a brand, but the adoption rate is improving thanks to the enhanced intelligence and programming of the latest bot experiences. More brands are spending the time to program the bots in a way that they seem as authentic as possible. Whether it’s about giving them their own character or simply predicting as many customer questions as possible, there has certainly been great progress in how they work.

AI can also come in providing automating messaging to customers who want an answer to a common question. Brands can set up messaging that keeps their customers satisfied while they’re also saving time in repeatedly answering the same questions.

2019 will bring an improved adoption of AI as part of social customer service and it’s time for more brands to give it a try to ensure that their customers are finding the answers to their questions as fast as possible.

5. Stories, stories, stories

Stories are everywhere! Visual content in a vertical format that usually lasts for 24 hours became popular from Snapchat and it soon was copied by Instagram to turn into a global trend for people of all ages.

Snapchat may have struggled since then to remain relevant, at least in the way that it was known for, but we’ve already seen Stories to Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and just recently, LinkedIn.

There are currently more than 400 million people consuming Stories on Instagram on a daily basis, while Facebook is trying to integrate Stories to our daily routines.

Advertisers have already realized that Instagram Stories ads can be very effective, with Snapchat and Facebook following up with their current hype and demand. Why are stories so successful?

Stories are:

  • easy to create
  • fun and engaging
  • spontaneous  (they don’t necessarily require much editing before uploading them)
  • authentic
  • are not always lasting more than 24 hours

6. The end of fake followers

Instagram is currently one of the most popular apps in the social media landscape. Influencers have benefited from the app’s success by rising to fame through their growing audience.

However, it was no secret that several Instagram accounts have artificially increased their number of followers to boost their popularity. Many services provide fake followers for a fee and Instagram knew that sooner or later this had to stop.

Just last month, Instagram announced that they’ve started removing inauthentic likes, follows, and comments from accounts that used third-party apps to increase their popularity. They have actually built machine learning tools to identify such activities so that they prevent it from happening in the future.

This is a big step for Instagram towards maintaining their reputation as a popular social network where people (and brands) can grow their community through genuine interest and engagement.

Since the change has just started rolling out, 2019 will prove that the number of followers will not be as relevant anymore comparing to the actual influence and engagement that you’re having within your community.

As a brand, there’s no need anymore to chase for increasing your followers if you’re not already engaging with your existing ones. Spend more time on growing your community organically to avoid seeing a sudden drop of (fake) followers and likes.

What can we learn from all these trends?

2018 has been a big year for social networks and it will probably affect their future more than what we can predict now.

There have been small steps to improve trust, transparency, authentic engagement and genuine followers.

There is still a long way to go but it’s still important for brands to pay attention to the latest trends.

It’s better to start applying them to your social media strategy now to stay ahead of the curve instead of insisting on old tricks that might not work anymore.

Find the channels that work better for you, spend more time (and money) on them and always listen to your audience. They can offer valuable insights on what you need to improve on your social tactics.

6 Instagram Marketing Tips for Business That Get Results

By | Networking Bizz Advanced SEO Techniques, Networking Bizz Business advice | No Comments

What was the last thing posted your company’s Instagram account? Was it posted after careful thought? Was it created based on your target audience’s interests? If you answered yes to both questions, great job! You most likely have a successful marketing strategy on Instagram and a consistent layout to keep your viewers interested.
As one of the biggest social media platforms, Instagram can be a great tool to drive results for your marketing, so long as you have a solid strategy. However, with nearly a 4X higher engagement rate than any other social network, brands have a lot of opportunities to build communities among their mobile audiences. Today, we’ve got a few helpful tips to help you captivate your audience and get more engagement for your company:

1. Post Consistently

Many brands will post 2-3 photos a day, but there is no “right” number. Your posting cadence should align with your goals for this channel. More importantly: be consistent. Photos should be story-driven, compelling visuals. Short on content? You can also ask for photo submissions from followers or show the behind-the-scenes life of your business. Don’t forget that Instagram Stories allows for 15-second videos, too. Some brands have found creative ways around the time restriction, like breaking longer clips into multiple 15-second videos and posting them consecutively.

IT’S TIME TO POST!!

2. Offer Deals & Giveaways

A lot of deals and giveaways on Instagram are community-driven. Offer prizes to customers who take the best pictures of themselves with the product. Share a special promo code to reward your followers for remaining loyal to your business. They’ll be thankful for the deal and continue to follow your account for future perks. You can also ask followers to tag friends in posts or take selfies in order to enter contests and giveaways.

3. Work with Influencers

Influencer marketing on Instagram can be highly effective. By working with someone who already has an established audience on Instagram, brands can tap into new audiences and build followings. The most common tactic is to allow influencers to “take over” a brand’s Instagram account for a few days, so that the influencer’s followers will start looking at the account. Influencers often test or promote a brand’s product in each photo or video. Look for influencers who align with your brand’s values and mission, or who’ve shown interest in your company in past.

4. Harness the Power of Hashtags

The best way to start building an audience is to use common hashtags. Not just one or two, either. You can opt for anywhere from 5-11 hashtags per post to start growing awareness. By hashtagging industry terms and common words, you can quickly boost engagement and followers. Include hashtags that align with the content you’re sharing, and go for a mix of really popular tags and more niche-specific ones. The former will immediately get your post in front of a lot of people, whereas the latter will ensure your post remains near the top of results for longer. This goes hand in hand with SEO keywords. Hashtag the keywords you want your company to be searched for!

5. Keep Your Profile Link Fresh

The link in your bio is the best way to drive traffic from Instagram. Top tip: Use a Bitlink for any piece of content in your bio and you’ll be able to track exactly how many unique clicks your Instagram page has driven to your content. To add polish and improve engagement, many major brands use a customized branded domain in for all their Bitlinks.

For savvy social media managers who are constantly rotating their profile link, upgrading to Bitly Enterprise allows you to redirect your link to a new URL without actually changing the link in your profile, making it easy to update and track new campaigns on the fly.

6. Actively Engage Your Followers

The most successful businesses on Instagram don’t just respond to comments, they favorite and comment on other posts as well. By engaging with posts related to your industry or brand, you can create outbound awareness. However, don’t expect immediate results. It might take some time for your efforts to pay off, but don’t worry! Think of this as an opportunity to extend your brand’s voice and connect with potential customers.

 

Payless sold discount shoes at luxury prices — and it worked!

By | Networking Bizz digital marketing | No Comments

If you serve fast food on white tablecloths in a tony-looking restaurant, people sometimes think it’s haute cuisine. (At the very least, it tastes a lot different than it does when you’re scarfing it down from a drive-through bag).

It turns out you can do the same for bargain kicks by showcasing the footwear against the kind of chic backdrop usually reserved for luxury labels like Jimmy Choo and getting people to pay outrageous markups.

That’s what Payless did recently in Santa Monica, taking over a former Armani store and stocking it with $19.99 pumps and $39.99 boots. The chain, via agency DCX Growth Accelerator, invited groups of influencers to the grand opening of “Palessi” and asked their opinions on the “designer” wares.

Partygoers, having no idea they were looking at discount staples from the mall scene, said they’d pay hundreds of dollars for the stylish shoes, praising the look, materials and workmanship. Top offer: $640, which translates to a 1,800 percent markup, and Palessi sold about $3,000 worth of product in the first few hours of the stunt.

Payless, or “Palessi,” did ring up those purchases but didn’t keep the money. Influencers got their cash back, along with free shoes. Their reactions caught in the short- and longer-form ads—those shocked “gotcha” moments—are fairly priceless.

The retailer “wanted to push the social experiment genre to new extremes, while simultaneously using it to make a cultural statement,” said Doug Cameron, DCX Growth Accelerator’s chief creative officer. “Payless customers share a pragmatist point of view, and we thought it would be provocative to use this ideology to challenge today’s image-conscious fashion influencer culture.”

Payless CMO Sarah Couch says the chain aimed to tackle the brand’s perception issues head-on at a time when retailers are feeling more heat than ever from giant e-commerce sites.

“The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion,” Couch says.

 

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